Teaching the Manly Virtue of Controlling Your Mouth – and Heart

Manly Art of Controlling Your MouthI just read a news article about a young newscaster on the air for the first – and last – time at his first job out of college. His first words on the air were a blast of profanity. Oh, he didn’t know his microphone was on, but part of a reporter’s training is to always remember any mic nearby could be hot. The real problem, however, is that he has not learned to control his temper and his mouth. He’d been practicing pronouncing the name of the winner of the London Marathon and couldn’t get it right. He just blew up and broadcast filth to the entire audience. The station let him go and I’m sure he’s rethinking his language habits right about now.

This is a great example to teach our sons the dangers of having a bad temper and of letting ourselves use bad language. Why not go a step further, though?

I’ll never forget the mom’s night out meeting when an older mom said, “You know, I’ve had to give up sanitized cursing. You know, those nonsense words that we use when we’re mad instead of cussing.”

Everyone was pretty surprised, “What’s wrong with that?” She explained much to our surprise how many of them are clearly meant to be the same thing as the original word. Gosh seems to be from the word God, Jeeze from the word Jesus, darn it from that phrase that asks God to condemn something to everlasting punishment. That was startling enough for someone who takes very seriously that we shouldn’t take the name of the Lord in vain, but then she said something even more surprising,

“Even if those really were just nonsense words, doesn’t our use of them say something about our hearts?” After all, why do we use exclamations like that? Why are we so angry about the things that happen to us? Shouldn’t we trust God more to have our good at heart? Shouldn’t we be more content? As Paul said:

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13

Wow, that was convicting. Let’s talk to our guys about having a heart of contentment and not one of cursing and railing against the sovereignty of God – and about the manly virtue of self-control. That even when we blow it in our hearts, it doesn’t have to come out of our mouths! Instead, we should pray and ask for help to make our hearts right. It’s not easy, though, we have to work at it:

“But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” James 3:8-10

When we explain to our guys that letting any old thing out of their mouths could cost them the job they need to support their wife and children, they see it’s not just mom and dad being picky, it’s a real issue that affects their future – and says something about their relationship with their God, too.


Melanie Winter Pic (c)2010 John Calvin Young

Many thanks to bromundt of Stock Exchange for the perfect photo!